A joke! And don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
The Boston Symphony was performing Beethoven’s Ninth. In the piece, there’s about a 20 min long passage during which the double basses have nothing to do. Rather than sit around the whole time looking stupid, some bassists decided to sneak offstage and go to the tavern next door for a quick drink. After slamming several beers in quick succession (as double bassists are prone to do), one of them looked at his watch, “Hey! We need to get back!”
“No need to panic,” said a fellow bassist. “I thought we might need some extra time, so I tied the last few pages of the conductor’s score together with string. I’ll take him a few minutes to get it untangled.”
A few minutes later they staggered back to the concert hall and took their places in the orchestra. About this time, a member of the audience noticed the conductor seemed a bit edgy and said as much to her date.
“Well, of course,” said her date. “Don’t you see? It’s the bottom of the Ninth, the score is tied, and the bassists are loaded.”
You know, I really was going to come here and just post Tuesday night’s score and say “Discuss,” because what more can you say about a game like this?
Then I reminded myself that you do come here for at least some details about the most recent Cubs game, and so you shall have... some of them, because I’m sure you’re tired about reading about loss after loss after loss.
The score, since we’re talking about scores, was Phillies 15, Cubs 10. Another joke! The Cubs decided they’d break their 10-game losing streak by scoring 10 runs... but they forgot to tell Jake Arrieta and the pitching staff.
Nope. That’s not really funny, is it?
You really don’t need a play-by-play of this one, do you?
Oh, as for Jake Arrieta? He’ll always be beloved in Cubs history for his amazing 2015 season, his two no-hitters and gutty postseason performances.
But he appears to be done. He doesn’t think so, though:
#Cubs’ Arrieta (2-7, 8.55 last 12 GS) on concern about nearing end of career: “No. Not even close. This sucks. Really, it does. But I’m not going to hang my head. … The stuff’s too good. I still have a lot left in the tank; there’s no question about that. ...1/3— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 7, 2021
Arrieta (cont.) "...The execution is not there. It hasn’t been for a while. … I’m not going to [give up]. I know where my stuff ranks in the game. I watch a lot of baseball, and it’s still there. It is. ... 2/3— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 7, 2021
Arrieta (cont.) "...This is a tough stretch for us as a team, for me individually. And I understand the question, and I expect it. But whatever has to be done will be done. There’s no question in my mind.”— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 7, 2021
For those of you who might not understand the -30- that Gordon Wittenmyer put at the end of the last tweet, it’s used in the newspaper business to signify the end of a story. This would appear to be the end of Jake’s story. Another joke! A few of us were kidding-on-the-square before the game about how many outs Arrieta would record. We never did settle on an over/under number, but the answer was “5.” It’s sad, really, when you remember what Jake was. The poor outing put his overall Cubs ERA over 3.00 (3.04; when the 2021 season began it was 2.73). His outing included serving up a totally predictable grand slam to Andrew McCutchen in the first inning, and then McCutchen came up in the very next inning with the bases (not “bassists”) loaded, and doing it again would have at least been historic. Jake struck him out, his only real highlight of the game.
The Cubs did attempt to mount a couple of comebacks in this mess. It was 7-0 when hits by Joc Pederson and Kris Bryant and a sac fly by Javier Báez made it 7-3, but Trevor Williams, making his first Cubs relief appearance, quickly gave the Phillies two of those three runs back.
Including Báez’ sac fly, nine straight Cubs went down through the fifth until Javy led off the sixth. Here’s some video for you! [VIDEO]
All together now: That ball was crushed!
Well, now it’s 9-4. A five-run deficit in a game like this was almost, almost close enough to think the Cubs could have come back.
And then the Phillies put six runs on the board off Williams and Dan Winkler, which included an error by Javy, a catcher’s interference call and two home runs, one of which (by Rhys Hoskins) smacked off the left-field video board.
15-4. Now, if the Cubs had come back from THAT, it would have tied the National League record for such things (largest deficit overcome), which was set by ... the Phillies. Where else? At Wrigley Field April 17, 1976.
The Cubs got the remnants of the crowd of 30,095 (and that’s another story, 10,000 under “full capacity”) excited for a moment in the seventh when Javy sent another baseball out of the yard [VIDEO].
Well. Now it’s 15-7, the wind is still blowing out, and...
The Cubs put two more on the board in the eighth, courtesy of an RBI double from Ian Happ and a single by Joc Pederson. 15-9... maybe?
With a runner on first and two out, the Phillies summoned Hector Neris and Bryant hit a screaming line drive off him on his very first pitch. Alec Bohm speared it at third base and that was that.
One last Cubs highlight: With one out in the ninth, Robinson Chirinos was sent up to bat for Brad Wieck, and he deposited a baseball into the bleachers [VIDEO].
Completely useless, but fun bit of trivia: That was the first home run hit by a Cub wearing No. 29 since Jeff Samardzija hit one off Jon Garland, then of the Rockies, in the second inning May 15, 2013. Here’s that blast:
And now, back to Tuesday night’s disaster.
15-10. It’s the first time both teams scored in double figures in a Wrigley Field game since August 21, 2019, when the Cubs beat the Giants 12-11.
Gratuitous swipe at Joe West, who was the plate umpire in this game, from a writer from our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight:
Joe West just made the worst strike call I have ever seen.— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) July 7, 2021
I don’t care if it benefitted my team. That was egregiously awful.
Here’s the call he’s talking about:
Pitch 1, obviously, was not a strike. KB was later called out on strikes on another pitch that wasn’t a strike (pitch 5):
Bryant began to have a discussion with West, who started following him back to the Cubs dugout.
We’ve got almost half a season left, but I find myself hoping that was the last time I will ever see Joe West call balls and strikes at Wrigley Field.
I’m certainly hoping I have now seen the last of this Cubs losing streak, too. It’s almost beyond words, yet I have already written over 1,000 of them in this recap. I could post another joke or two here, but the losing streak is enough of one that you probably don’t need more.
The Cubs will once again attempt to end the losing streak against the Phillies at Wrigley Field Wednesday evening, weather permitting. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Zack Wheeler is the scheduled starter for the Phillies. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.